Socialist Worker

Labour is no longer our party after Remploy betrayal, say union officials

Issue No. 2091

Five senior GMB union officials have resigned from the Labour Party over the “despicable betrayal” of disabled workers at Remploy factories, who are facing redundancy.

In a damning letter to Gordon Brown, GMB national secretary Phil Davies said that he had been a member of the Labour Party for nearly 30 years, but that his party’s treatment of Remploy workers was so unjust that he had no option but to resign.

The letter says, “We have been misled by the secretary of state, who made assurances at the 2007 Labour Party conference which he did not keep.

“I have been a national trade union officer for 20 years and have never seen workers treated in such a despicable way. Our members are being ignored and bullied into submission.”

Davies explained that his resignation was a reaction to the government’s treatment of Remploy workers.

He said, “They had a thought-out plan going back three years which had all been carefully laid out. The promises made at last year’s Labour ­conference were designed to create a smokescreen.

“It was total dishonesty at the highest level,” he said.

The four other co-signatories, who also resigned from the party, were GMB senior convener Les Woodward and senior stewards Steve Sargent, Chris Williams and Phil Brannan.

Les Woodward said, “I can’t have anything to do with a party that has treated us this way. ”

Gordon Brown met Remploy workers who protested outside Labour’s spring conference in Birmingham last weekend.

But it will take more than vague promises to “look again” at the issue to halt the closures to end the anger at Labour.

Factories in York and Hartlepool have been put up for sale while disabled workers are still working inside them.

Last week workers at Remploy in Brixton, south London, turned up at work to find the Remploy sign removed and a for sale sign in its place.

Other factories have had all their machinery removed.

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Tue 4 Mar 2008, 19:06 GMT
Issue No. 2091
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